Are leaders born? Is there an innate set of qualities that “fit” a person to be a leader, equipping that person to be in charge? Or can leadership be contingent on the situation - “commeth the hour, commeth the man”, as the writer would have it,
Very good question, thinking in terms of leaders as visionairs as often found in older management literature than I would say yes, such leaders are born as leaders even if their carreer does not show that stringent path as found by some well-designed management careers.
Thinking about leaders in terms of modern literature like e.g. Yukl, Aitken, Kotter or Buchanan than it is getting quite harder. Some of the requested skillsets belong to discipline like staying focussed, communications, helicopter mode ... some others like Aitken's enthusing or Kotter's 8-step approach like creating urgency and the guiding coalition have to do a lot with enthusing, communications and politics.
The question for me is: is doing politics and communicatoins a skill you get at beginning of your life or is it something you learn yourself or by being part in good teams? Without referencing to literature I would assume that an extraordinary amount of those skills is by nature but at least enough to act as a good leader can be learned by training, positive examples and great leaders as advisors.
Aitken, M., & Higgs, P. (2010). Developing Change Leaders. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. Buchanan, B., & Badham, R. (2008). Power, Politics and Organisational Change. Sage. Kotter, J. (1998). Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Yukl, G. (2007). Leadership in Organizations. Boston: Pearson.
End Post by Thomas Peruzzi
My personal opinion is that thinking visions is also a state of mind and can be trained, just like the elements of being a good leader (Pardey 2007). There is another sound that says that training programs are not the main key to becoming a leader and learning leadership skills, but it is the job and working situation that drives people to becoming a leader and learning the needed skills (Conger & Riggio 2007).
The trait theory brought forward by Bertocci in 2009 in his book Leadership in organizations mentions that certain traits or characteristics make people leaders. This latter theory is something that feels good to me because it does not say that leaders are born, but it tells us that specific characteristics distinguish leaders from followers. In my opinion it are these characteristics that makes the learning of leadership skills easier and more plausible (Bertocci 2009).
This brings forward some interesting views on Leadership and it tells us that leaders are not born but people are born with certain traits and characteristics that makes them leaders and, that only education to learn leadership skills is not enough but that experience on the job is probably more important.
Bertocci, DI 2009, Leadership in Organizations, 1st edn, University Press of America, Plymouth. Conger, JA & Riggio, RE 2007, The Practice of Leadership, 1st edn, John Wiley & Sons, San Fransisco. Pardey, D 2007, Introducing Leadership, 1st edn, Butterworth-Heinemann, Burlington.